Christmas Joy with Louder Than War

Hand Of Glory release a compilation album of original Christmas songs. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews Christmas Joy In Full Measure.  8.5 / 10

Billing themselves as ‘The World’s Greatest Record Label’ is something to live up to but Hand Of Glory have certainly given it all that they’ve got. Christmas Joy In Full Measure brings together twelve artists, each with an original seasonal song to give one of the most eclectic alternative Xmas albums you’ll probably hear.

Label founder, Mary Epworth, opens with The Wolf And The Woods which celebrates people bringing the outdoors into their homes. It touches Goldfrapp territory circa Red Cherry as its magical bass line is complemented by haunting voices and echoes with a sleigh bell feel. It’s a track that grows listen upon listen and is a fitting beginning.

The obvious Xmas feel continues with a clever song from Young Knives. With no chorus, the song is constructed using several verses performed in various harmonies created a neo-Carol feel describing the modern Xmas.

The feel of the album then takes a dramatic turn as Be A Ghost sees Extradition Order in a Mark E Smith/Mark Stewart guise visits Warrington’s pubs. The Count Of Chateau Noir give another arrangement which is maybe more historic than modern. Several voices take part on Awake Awake, some which are better than others; it’s a toe-tapper and often displays a dark humour.

Papernut Cambridge give us a potted science lesson on 93 Million And One and explain that the reason for snow is something to do with the Earth’s axis in a gentle, wistful track that makes your feet go all toasty.

Two tracks stand out in particular – On Christmas Day by Citizen Helene recounts Beach Boys’ harmonies successfully, and The Webb Brothers contribute the album highlight with a song that has all the feel and emotion of the yuletide songs of the 70s. Think George Harrison with Wizzard and The Glitter Band and you won’t be far off. Are You Coming Home For Christmas? is the first new Webb track for five years and is well worth the wait.

Kiran Leonard questions the concept of Father Christmas via the eyes (and mind) of a young boy whilst going slightly prog, and Aliens Pat skilfully destroys every child’s dream in the twelve seconds of Santa Fell Down The Chimney and the bearded man’s death.

Jon Epworth, Mary’s Canadian cousin, rams good old rock ‘n’ roll down our turkey filled throats with the wonderful Atheist that contains some superb guitars. The Unwritten Christmas Card sees a tale of sadness from The Outdoor Types as they ponder over lost love and the reasons of life. Closing the album with the appropriately named Richard Holley, Old Year’s Night provide an evocative lament recounting the previous year.

If you’re fed up with Xmas already, Christmas Joy In Full Measure may just give you something to look forward to again.

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Christmas Joy in The Sunday Times

Sunday Times

 

 

The idea of Christmas not as a sentiment-soaked season of precision-bomb supermarket ads and ruinous household debt, but as an all but forgotten pre-Christian pagan ritual of ancient mysticism and bracing oddness, is explored on this wonderfully strange album. Standouts include the Count of Chateau Noir’s sinister, Bontempi-driven Awake Awake and Young Knives’ sepulchral Low Carol. Best of all are Aliens Pat’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Santa Fell Down the Chimney (the couplet is completed by “Broke his neck and died”, and that’s it), and the punky thrash of Jon Epworth’s raging, ramshackle Atheist. Alternative doesn’t even come into it.

Christmas Joy in the Liverpool Echo!

The Outdoor Types “Unwritten Christmas Card” and Extradition Order’s “Be a Ghost” get a lovely nod in this piece.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/merseyside-christmas-music-8274836

7. Be a Ghost

Extradition Order have written an ode to their native Warrington in Be a Ghost. They describe it as “A terrifying journey through the pubs of Warrington on Christmas Eve”. The band are currently preparing for the release of their second full-length release, a concept album focused on the Kennedy dynasty.

Their new song is being released as part of Christmas Joy In Full Measure, a collection of 12 original songs for Christmas.

Alastair says: “Mary and Will dropped a line over the summer and said they were putting a Christmas record together and wanted weird ideas and stories. I love catching up with folks at Christmas down the Blue Bell or the Lower Angel in Warrington, but for some it’s like pretending life hasn’t changed on the other 364 days of the year – hell, hasn’t changed since they were the awkward kid in the Sonic Youth tshirt in high school. I wanted to have fun with that idea that Christmas is like becoming a ghost of your own past.”

6. The Unwritten Christmas Card

Also on the same album, Liverpool band The Outdoor Types have penned The Unwritten Christmas Card. With their classic, ‘60s-influenced folk and psych rock mash-up with a dash of country, plus psych pop country-folk, they wrote about “The time to revisit old hurts and review your life over a pint or two”.

Luke says: “We did our first ever recordings in Liverpool, above a disused bed shop (that I believe was soon to be demolished) in 2006. It was called Cassette studios. They had a deal on – ‘Two songs recorded for £50’. I distinctly remember there was a giant dusty old Father Christmas in there, right outside the control room. It must have been left over from the glory days of the bed shop, from one of their festive promotions. We used these demos to kick the band off, and pretty soon the nice guys at Hand of Glory had released our first single. So it seems like some kind of cosmic synergy that now HOG are now releasing our Christmas song The Unwritten Christmas Card on this ace compilation. I can’t help feeling the big red man himself, in his dishevelled, forgotten, most probably long swept up in pile of rubble state, would crack a dusty plastic half-smile on our behalf.”

10/10 in the Scunthorpe Telegraph!

“CHRISTMAS JOY IN FULL MEASURE” – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Land of Hope and Glory) – Ten out of 10 for originality.The album is based on 12 diverse acts from Extradition Order to The Webb Brothers (son of Jimmy, not the Scunthorpe family) recording their own Yuletide songs. Proving Christmas means different things to different people, The tracks cover subjects like ghosts in Warrington pubs, owls, stag and wolves, ultimate gluttony and atheism. A real Christmas cracker! 10/10.

Read more: http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/CD-REVIEWS-Bette-Midler-Boyzone-Idina-Menzel/story-25155660-detail/story.html#ixzz3LhGKgO9h
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Christmas Joy in Full Measure OUT NOW!!!

Christmas Joy in Full Measure - Various Artists

Christmas Joy in Full Measure – Various Artists

Available to pre-order now at Norman Records, Piccadilly RecordsRough Trade, iTunes and Amazon

Hand Of Glory records asked twelve artists for an original Christmas song. Here are twelve tracks that sum up the many experiences of Christmas, from lush widescreen pop (Webb Brothers), to sparkly Saturnalian disco (Mary Epworth) to dystopian Fall-esque horror (Extradition Order). Other standout tracks include Young Knives’ dark medieval-esque ‘Low Carol’, Kiran Leonard’s sprawling proggy epic ‘Huygens probe’ and Papernut Cambridge’s charming and magical ’93 Million And One’.

Hand Of Glory Presents – Christmas Joy In Full Measure

 

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Available to pre-order now at Norman Records, Piccadilly RecordsRough Trade, iTunes and Amazon

Hand Of Glory records asked twelve artists for an original Christmas song. Here are twelve tracks that sum up the many experiences of Christmas, from lush widescreen pop (Webb Brothers), to sparkly Saturnalian disco (Mary Epworth) to dystopian Fall-esque horror (Extradition Order). Other standout tracks include Young Knives’ dark medieval-esque ‘Low Carol’, Kiran Leonard’s sprawling proggy epic ‘Huygens probe’ and Papernut Cambridge’s charming and magical ’93 Million And One’.